A man appeared, very suddenly and silently, as thought he had materialized out of thin air, in a place he wasn't supposed to be in. Or so he thought. He looked a little like a malnourished Santa Claus, tall, thin and ancient, with a long, flowing silver beard. He also wore half-moon spectacles over his bright, twinkling blue eyes. If you looked into those eyes, they will tell you how cool, calm, patient, reserved, and overall, wise he was behind them. His long dark green cloak was swishing gracefully under his feet. His nose was unusually long and crooked, like it had been broken several times, over his very long life.
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, somehow managed to apparate to Konohagakure no Sato. By accident.
Can you imagine that? One of the best Wizards of all time makes a mistake and apparates to the wrong place? How embarrassing. Surely, Albus Dumbledore was far more skilled than that.
It was just an ordinary day for the extraordinary old man. All he wanted to do was pop(literally) down to the Leaky Cauldron for a drink. Dumbledore was capable of apparating without any difficulty whatsoever in his sleep. In fact, many others can do so, too. Apparating was the first form of transport that will come to a wizard's(and witch's) mind as it is very convenient, and time is gold. So how did he fail?
The moment his eyes snapped open, he knew something was not right. He was in a very, very strange place. This place must've been very peaceful and safe to live in, as there were many rows of small, simple houses, apartments, and stalls. But the ground he was standing on had cracked and many of those colourful houses had collasped into rubble. A big tree had fallen to his right, and there were many big, deep craters all over, as though a meteor-shower had struck. All the people surrounding him were so hard at work,they didn't even notice the strange man in weird clothing appear out of nowhere. They seemed to be trying to restore the damage, their grim and serious expressions solely focused on the tasks at hand. Dark heavy clouds hung in the troubled gloomy weather overhead seemed to mirror their lifeless, hopeless, and helpless eyes everyone around him had.
'This must be the aftermath of a war' Dumbledore thought sadly. But wait- someone just jumped on to a roof! Is he running? By golly! He is! He's running on the roof and jumping from it to another one! Then Dumbledore caught sight of something even more earth-shattering. His bright blue eyes widened. Is-is that woman walking up a tree? How is that possible? Such a spell does not exist! Or so he thought.
He whirled around and got punched in the face by- a breathtaking scene. High up, on the side of a mountain, four heads were carved expertly on. Sort of like Mount Rushmore but with different heads. A grand tall red tower stood a little towards the left of the mountain were those people? Where in the world was he? Muggles don't run up trees, do they?
Pulling himself out of the dream-like state he was in, he began frantically patting himself down, finally he let out a sigh of relief. No splinchings. Which meant he didn't lose an eye in the process of apparating here, neither did he leave behind any other body parts. So then how did he get here? There is this rumour going around, claiming that if you apparate to a place you didn't want to go to, that particular place is where you need to go. Could it be true? If it it, why did he need to be here? Dumbledore couldn't, for the life of him, figure that part out. Nevertheless, he kept his cool and calmly assessed his given situation, trying to decide the best way to handle this for the best outcome. He had yet to come to a suitable conclusion when a loud voice interrupted him from his train of thoughts.
"HEY OLD MAN! WHO'RE YOU DATTEBAYO?"
Dumbledore jumped with a start and turned to face the opposing sound to see- a boy. Everything about this boy was bright. He had blond, no, it had way too much colour to be blond, he had spiky bright yellow hair , a bright orange and blue striped jumpsuit, whiskers, and a bright, goofy smile. The wide, carefree smile was shot right at Dumbledore, and it was as though many rays of bright warm sunshine was radiating from this spontaneous boy. When he saw him he couldn't help but break into a smile, too. The dancing bright blue eyes made contact with another pair(Dumbledore's eyes) which were the same shade of sparkling blue, but wiser and more experienced, for the first time. It seemed as though the gloomy coldness surrounding him was melted considerably by this hyper spirit.
"Me? Well..." he chuckled lightly. "I suppose I'm a lost dog."
The boy simply stared at Albus Dumbledore from head to toe, not sure of what to do next.
"You're not from Konoha, are you?"
"How did you-" Naruto was rudely interrupted by his stomach, which was grumbling loudly."Heh heh, I'm hungry, ya know? Let's uhh, go get lunch at Ichiraku Ramen!" And with that he raced away.
Dumbledore, having no better option, tried his best to keep up with him. The boy was really fast. He seemed to be using a particular technique to run, his arms stretched out behind him, like a jet on a runway, and his back bent stock-straight. Dumbledore would've tried running in that queer manner himself, if he could, but he was sure his back wouldn't be able to handle all the strain.
They had only been running for just over two minutes- and Dumbledore was already out of breath. He was starting to seriously consider crawling on his hands and knees.
'Age must be getting to me...' Dumbledore thought, through exhausted old man wheezes.
The boy noticed his fatigue, and came running back up to him. He hadn't even broken a sweat, as if he had just been taking a walk.
"Oh yeah, I forgot you're not one of us, y'know."
And before Dumbledore knew what was happening, he felt himself being hoisted on the boy's back.
"Hold on tight, old man!"
Then he took off. Dumbledore was rendered speechless. How...? How could a young boy, probably sixty or seventy years older than him, be capable of such a feat? Ah well. Phenomenons and prodigies happen once in a while, and Dumbledore had no doubt seen quite a few in his long life. This was probably just another one. He began to grow back into calm and submissive ways once more. That calm only lasted for a second.
The boy had slowed down.
'We must be almost there' Dumbledore mused, secretly relieved, for he felt like he was going to fall off at any moment. Yes, he was scared. Very scared.
But then, the boy jumped, launching himself high in the air.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!" Albus Dumbledore screamed.
Wait. Albus Dumbledore screamed? Did I hear that correctly? Albus Dumbledore did what?
He screamed his head off. It was like time had slowed down. Dumbledore looked down- bad idea- they were falling, falling, falling, and then-
They landed. With a soft thump, on the roof of a house.
"Sorry for scaring you, but we'll get there faster if we travel on the roofs." he said. "BELIEVE IT!"
Dumbledore certainly didn't believe it.
"A-ar-are-are you r-really sure-?"
But the boy didn't stop to hear his question. He took off, sometimes leaping from roof to roof, showing absolutely no sign of fear.
"WOO-HOO!" The boy hollered.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH" Dumbledore screamed some more.
The boy jumped off the roof. Gravity did not balance with the force of air resistance and began picking up speed. Dumbledore closed his eyes and braced for impact, but it didn't come.
"Here we are!"
He slowly opened one eye, then the other. Producing a hankercheif from his pocket, he began to dab his wrinkled forehead.
"You scream a lot, ya know."
Dumbledore could only weakly nod.
"C'mon have a seat! It's my treat!"
So Dumbledore sat, noticing the people around him shooting strange looks their way. The more he looked, he realized they were directed at the boy sitting next to him, not at him.
The owner of the store came graciously took their orders( The boy helped Dumbledore order his ramen). He seemed to know the boy very well.
"Ah! My favourite customer! Are you ordering the usual?"
" Yeah! Two bowls, please!" He replied, nodding eagerly.
"Coming right up!"
"Believe what this time?"
"I don't know, I just say that without thinking, y'know, uncle Teuchi..." the boy said sheepishly.
Dumbledore was silently observing the exchange.
"So, who're you? Old man?"
"Hmm? Well, I'm Albus Dumbledore."
"Uhh, okay, what're you?"
"I think I need to worry about what you are, young man."
Just then, the food arrived. Two steaming bowls of noodles in soup. The delicious, tempting aroma wafted through Dumbledore's long nose, making his mouth water.
"What is this?"
"Don't... ask just... eat!" The boy ordered, between loud, satisfied slurps, oblivious to everything but the food that was placed before him.
So Dumbledore picked up the two sticks and rather clumsily fed himself. As soon as the food passed his mouth, he was in heaven. The warm soup filled his body and spread a wonderful feeling to the very tips of his fingers, like he was under a warm blanket on a rainy day.
"This... is really... good!" Dumbledore slurped.
"I told... you!" The boy gulped down the soup. "Ichiraku Ramen is... the best!" he declared, setting the big bowl down and pumping his fist in the air.
"Why thank you..." Teuchi said, blushing a slight shade of pink.
"ANOTHER BOWL!" Both Dumbledore and the young boy yelled in unison.
Two bowls later, they took a third bowl, Dumbledore eating at a slower pace, as he recovered a little from the shock upon discovering how tasty the meal was.
"So, where am I?" Dumbledore inquired.
The boy stopped devouring the ramen.
"You mean you don't know where this place is?"
"It appears to be so." Dumbledore confirmed lightly, trying not to sound sarcastic.
"You're in Konoha! The Village Hidden In The Leaves!" He stated proudly, tapping at headband he was wearing, which had what Dumbledore believed to be a kind of symbol, a swirly correction tape( you know, what modern day muggles use to cover up pen ink).
"Hmmm..." Dumbledore said, curiously looking at the headband. "It looks like everyone here is sporting that, is it a... what do you call those? Ah, fashion trends?"
The boy blinked and looked at him incredulously. "Where'd you come from?"
"Britain, somewhere towards the outskirts of Hogwarts, but I doubt you've even heard of Hogwarts before."
"B-but how'd you get here?" The boy frowned.
"Travelling from one place to another in a second."
"Waitaminute!" The boy exclaimed, his face scrunched up in deep concentration, as if trying to remember something. Then he suddenly began flailing his arms, falling of his seat. It was a weird sight.
"Y-YOU'RE A SUMMONING ANIMAL?" He spluttered, jabbing his finger in Dumbledore's direction.
Dumbledore was just as confused by the sudden outburst. "A what?"
Then the boy realized he shouldn't have shouted like that, got up and sat down again. Both he and Dumbledore sensing the hostile glares coming their way.
They sat in awkward silence until the heat of those glares subsided. Then they opened their mouths at the exact same time, each hoping to break the tension between them for two particulary different reasons.
"Do tell me more about this place."
"Tell me more about your place!"
They both looked at each other, threw their heads back and burst into a fit of laughter.
"Konoha was a very beautiful village. You should've came earlier to see for yourself."
"Then, what happened? It looks like a wreck now."
"I don't know all the details, but Orochimaru and the sand launched an attack on us."The boy's knuckles clenched and he tensed up a little, seemingly mad. "Everything went out of control in the chunin exams and then teme went after Gaara and Sakura-chan, Shikamaru, and I went after teme. Gaara got Sakura-chan and I fought Gaara. I think some big snakes were summoned somewhere in the village.
Dumbledore didn't really know what he was talking about but he figured he'd just keep asking questions until the boy cleared everything up for him. "You said you... fought?"
"Yeah, summoned Chief Toad and saved Sakura-chan. BELIEVE IT!"
"That was very reckless. How old are you?"
"Then what is a young boy like you doing going to a place where the war had struck?"
"I'm not a young boy!" he whined.
"What were you doing just a moment ago?"
"I wanted to train with Ero-Sennin, but he was too 'busy doing research' so Tsunade no baachan made me go help the others with Shino, and she wouldn't take no for an answer." The boy crossed his arms and pouted. "And teme abandoned me to train somewhere else alone. Sakura-chan is training with Tsunade no baachan."
"YOU DON'T KNOW?" The boy tapped his headband once again."A ninja has to train to get strong, ya know!"
Ninja, huh? "So what is the purpose of a ninja?"
"YOU DON'T KNOW?" The boy asked, bobbing up and down."We go on missions!"
"What d'you mean missions?"
"YOU DON'T KNOW? The missions are ranked from easiest to toughest, D-rank is the easiest, they're sooo boring, and S-rank's the hardest, mostly to kill some really evil people. S-rank's are the most exciting and dangerous ones. I haven't done S-ranks before."
Dumbledore smiled. It seems like little ninja boys and school boys are very similar- they're loud, rambunctious, and always ask for trouble. "Who sets up those missions?"
"We do it under the requests of civilians and, basically people who're not ninja and can't kick butt."
Dumbledore saw the ninja in a new light. While they, the wizards and witches were hiding from the likes of muggles, the ninjas found another way, and lived in harmony with other people who weren't like them.
The boy was staring at the mountain images.
"I'm a little curious about those rock heads."
"That's the Hokage Mountain!" he exclaimed, giggling. "I painted them and got in trouble before..."
"Yeah! Hokage! The title for the strongest ninja!" He gestured at all the carved faces. "They protect the village! They lead it, too! I'm gonna have to take you to see our Hokage later."
"So they're respected by everyone, I see..."
The boy stood up, his face full of determination. "I, Naruto Uzumaki, am gonna be the best Hokage ever! BELIEVE IT!"
"Ah. I finally know your name."
Dumbledore admired his spunky, boisterous spirit. He was growing fond of this Naruto child.
Just then, a mob of unfriendly faces surrounded them. Naruto froze.
"Hey, demon brat. You were really loud earlier and it disturbed us. I bet you did it on purpose." a man said maliciously, as the rest of the people nodded in agreement.
"So we're about to give you the punishment you deserve." another one taunted. Naruto shook like a leaf.
They began to ruthlessly punch, kick, and hit Naruto. But Naruto didn't fight back. He just stood still and let them harm him, his face expressionless, his eyes distant. He didn't even utter a whimper of pain. The villagers were not satisfied.
"Oh, is this the demon's friend?" a fat woman inquired. "I guess he'll have to go down with him."
The blade of a kitchen knife made its way towards Dumbledore. That made Naruto snap. He reacted quickly, darting between Dumbledore and the opposing person with the knife. Now the man was about to stab Naruto instead...
The clash of sharp blades. Naruto had pulled out his kunai just in time. Dumbledore was amazed at how quick-witted and nimble Naruto was. All he saw was a flash of orange, and the next thing he knew he had his back to him. Naruto and the man remained at a deadlock, eyes steadily locked on aech other.
"If you lay a hand on him..." Naruto threatened furiously."I'll kill you."
"STOP!" Teuchi shouted desperately. "I WILL NOT HAVE THIS! LEAVE NARUTO ALONE!"
The angry mob didn't comply.
"It's okay, uncle Teuchi. I'll handle it. BELIEVE IT!" and with that Naruto drew back and did a hand sign.
"Kage bushin no jutsu!"
Duplicates of Naruto sprang out. Dumbledore was getting shocked by the amount of shocks he kept getting ever since he stepped foot on Konohagakure. Each shock was more shocking than the last. Little did Dumbledore know that he was soon going to be getting another shocking shock. Well Dumbledore, they don't call him the most 'Unpredictable Knuckle-head Ninja' for nothing.
Instead of going and finishing the fight with some nina skills, naruto prepared to use another jutsu.
"OIROKE NO JUTSU!"
The smoke cleared, and Dumbledore saw women- naked women. It was not what Dumbledore had expected, but it did the trick. Everyone fainted, including Teuchi and him.
"They were villagers, weren't they?"
"Yeah..." It was obvious that Naruto didn't want to talk about this subject, but Dumbledore needed answers. He didn't know why, he just did. Dumbledore wasn't one to pry into people's business, but for some reason he really, really longed to help this boy.
"Are... ninjas always attacked by villagers?"
Naruto shook his head.
"Y-you won't understand..."
"Please tell me."
Naruto's eyebrows were pulled into a frown, thinking. Then he let out a defeated sigh.
"Fine. You don't know anyway so you won't hate me." Dumbledore was silent, waiting for Naruto to continue. Naruto took a deep breath. "Only a few people know this. Years ago a demon fox attacked our village and killed a lot of people. That demon fox was sealed inside me." Dumbledore raised his eyebrows questioningly, so Naruto took off his jacket and showed him the seal. "So I'm the demon they all hate."
"You're still a person, not a demon. " Dumbledore said, anger running through his veins at the unfairness of it all. "Haven't your parents tried to stop this?"
"I... don't have parents."
"Oh" Dumbledore just had another shock. "I'm so sorry."
"It's okay, y'know! I'm used to it." He smiled positively. "I still have people who think and care about me, and that's all that matters."
Dumbledore fully agreed with this boy, wondering where he got that pure heart of gold and positivity. "Why did you just stand there and let them beat you up, when you were fully capable of harming them all by yourself?"
He looked at Dumbledore, his eyes sincere. "If I hurt them, I will won't have a chance of becoming Hokage, because a Hokage's duty is too protect the village."
Dumbledore felt moisture building up in his eyes. This boy was not only brave and boisterous, he was also wise in his own way; most importantly, he was kind-hearted and valued the lives of others. This boy will go far. He would become Hokage. He would become whatever he wanted to be. Dumbledore had no doubt about that.
"Is there anything- anything at all- that I can do for you?"
"Actually... can I ask you something? Naruto looked nervous.
"Can I call you ji-ji?"
"Grandpa" Naruto was blushing slightly.
Another shock for Dumbledore. "Have you ever had a grandpa before?"
"Not really. The Third Hokage was like a grandfather to me but..." Naruto whispered these next words. "He... was killed by Orochimaru.
Ninjas must be really strong, if they had to learn to embrace losing someone to death at such a young age, but everyone knows nobody ever truly gets through losing someone.
Dumbledore didn't know how to reply the boy. But he knew he already could feel a strong connection between he and Naruto. So, without any need to speak, Dumbledore raised his arms and Naruto ran into his warm embrace.
They had created a bond. An unbreakable one.